Dental Trauma Tips for Independence Day

Holidays are generally good for dental business.

Christmas + Peanut Brittle = broken teeth

Valentines + chocolates = cavities

Halloween + Caramels = crown pulled off

It got me wondering…. Should we be worried about our teeth on the 4th of July?

Potential risks include

  • opening a beer bottle with teeth
  • holding a sparkler in your mouth
  • gnawing on rib
  • Clown driving car loses control at parade and hits you in face
  • someone waving the flag hits you in the face

I think you can tell where I am going with this.  Here are some tips from Monica Neely Dentistry if you find yourself having a dental emergency this Independence Day..

Q:  A firecracker hit me in the mouth and knocked out my front tooth. What should I do?

A:  There is a possibility that a permanent tooth that has been knocked out can be re-implanted if handled promptly and correctly. If possible, the tooth should be reinserted in the socket and held there until the injured sees a dentist or visits the emergency room. If it is not possible to replace the tooth in the socket, the tooth should immediately be placed in milk, saliva, or cool water with a pinch of saline solution (not contact lens solution or plain water). The tooth should be handled only by the crown and never be allowed to dry out. If a dentist can see the injured patient within half an hour and the tooth has been preserved correctly, there is a possibility that it may be successfully re-implanted. Primary (baby) teeth are usually not re-implanted.

Q:  At the parade, this kid hit me in the face with a flag and now my mouth is bleeding?

A:  For lesser dental trauma, soft tissue injuries may require only cold compresses or ice to reduce swelling. Bleeding may be controlled with direct pressure applied with clean gauze. Deep lacerations and punctures may require stitches. Pain may be managed with aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol, Aspirin Free Excedrin), or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).

Q:  I got a little over-aggressive eating a rib at the pool barbeque and broke my tooth?

A: Treatment of a broken tooth will vary depending on the severity of the fracture. For immediate first aid, the injured tooth and surrounding area should be rinsed gently with warm water to remove dirt, then covered with a cold compress to reduce swelling and ease pain. A dentist should examine the injury as soon as possible. Any pieces from the broken tooth should be saved and taken to the dentist with the child.

If a piece of the outer tooth has chipped off, but the inner core (pulp) is undisturbed, the dentist may simply smooth the rough edges or replace the missing section with a small composite filling. In some cases, a fragment of broken tooth may be bonded back into place. If enough tooth is missing to compromise the entire tooth structure, but the pulp is not permanently damaged, the tooth will require a protective coverage with a gold or porcelain crown. If the pulp has been seriously damaged, the tooth will require root canal treatment before it receives a crown. A tooth that is vertically fractured or fractured below the gum line will require root canal treatment and protective restoration. A tooth that no longer has enough remaining structure to retain a crown may have to be extracted (surgically removed).

Here are some emergency links:

Happy 4th!

About monicaneelydds

Dr. Monica Neely, DDS is a practicing Dentist in Edmond, OK. Dr. Neely graduated from University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and has been in practice for 24 years. She then completed Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Residency, a one-year post-graduate training in complex dental cases.

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